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Brandberg climb signals no-violence

All excited about their budding mountaineering career, the climber will tackle the famous Brandberg to help end violence.(Photograph by Melba Chipepo)

All excited about their budding mountaineering career, the climber will tackle the famous Brandberg to help end violence.(Photograph by Melba Chipepo)

Twenty five climbers, mainly young people, will embark on a mountain climb in the Brandberg area in support of ending gender-based violence.
The initiative is organised by Victims 2 Survivors to raise awareness and find solutions to end acts of violence against women. The climb takes place from 18 to 21 April 2013 at the Brandberg Mountain in Damaraland. The Brandberg is Namibia’s highest mountain,
According to Hem Matsi, founder of Victims 2 Survivors, the increase in gender-based violence prompted the Brandberg mountain climb following a similar initiative by the UN Women Regional Creative Artist Council called the Africa Unite Mount Kilimanjaro climb which took place from 5 to 9 March 2012 in Tanzania. Matsi is the country’s representative to the UN Women Regional Creative Artist Council and successfully completed the climb.
She said although many campaigns exist to fight gender-based violence, very few exist on finding solutions to the pervasive malaise. “We know that gender-based violence is mainly a youth problem hence we decided to get this group to climb Namibia’s highest mountain, Brandberg,” said Matsi, adding that even though the initiative is meant to be fun, the group will be discussing possible solutions to over come gender-based violence. “At the end of the day we will come up with tangible lasting solutions to finally end gender-based violence and present our solutions to the line ministries as well as all gender-based violence partners. From there, we will start with action and   implementation,” said Matsi
Matsi argues that crime is not a problem that should be left to the police alone but that communities should step in to help curbe crime including gender-based violence. She referred to her own experience when she was mugged and robbed of her handbag in the presence of onlookers who did little to help her. “I have come to realize that we as members of the public are perhaps too scared to report the perpetrators and instead we protect these criminals which should not be the case, we need to stop them and report them to the authorities other wise crime will continue to escalate,” the seemingly distraught Matsi elaborated.
The group of climbers is composed of journalists, poets, musicians, fashion designers, boxers and soccer players. Prominent names amongst the climbers include Dr. Elijah Ngurare, Swapo Party Youth League Secretary General, professional boxer The Rock and musicians Smokey, Dnaff and Frieda from Gal Level. Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Ministry of Gender, as well as Childline Lifeline Namibia are also expected to form part of the climbers.
Asked why he decided to join the group of climbers, musician Smokey said this initiative is an excellent platform to prove to victims of gender-based violence that they are not alone in the fight against the pandemic. “We will expose ourselves to the harsh environment all for a good cause,” he said.
Against the recent spate of rapes and killings of young women, Siegfried Neumann of the Men for Healthy Relationships, a local organisation that fight gender-based violence, says that many men who abuse their partners usually come from homes that have no values and norms. He believes that the death penalty is not the solution to end crimes. “ We live in a community where houses are headed by only one parent. We need to bring back the concept of both parents being present in our homes and balancing the upbringing of children, therefore establishing values and norms in our homes,” Neumann noted.
The initiative is sponsored by Social Security Commission, Shoprite, Coca Cola, National Youth Service, Hemline, Men for Healthy Relationships, NBC and the Kilimanjaro Initiative.

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